Monday, June 15, 2009

My dad might be getting remarried. Might. His girlfriend might have TMJ (which is a painful jaw-locking thing), so she's been in pain a lot lately and has headaches and doesn't sleep well and stuff like that. She's got a doctor's appointment soon to find out if this is something they can fix within a few weeks or whether she'll have it forever. If they can fix it, they'll probably get married in August. If they can't, my dad isn't going to marry her. Oh, but don't worry, he's not breaking up with her either. It just doesn't make sense to marry someone who's going to be in pain and in and out of the doctor's for the rest of their life. I mean, she's a nice lady and she has a good pension from the state and when you get to be 60 there aren't a lot of good options and you don't want to spend the rest of your life alone.

What? Seriously?

Ok, now, in addition, imagine being told this one night as if you were talking about the weather, or maybe discussing whether the curtians were more of a navy or a royal blue.

So then what did I say to my dad? "Oh, ok. Yeah. Cool." No excitement or disappointment from him, just flat, emotionless really, so I suppose that I gave him the same sort of response.
Later though, I went home and cried. Partially because I was sad for myself that this is the kind of man I have for a father, but mostly I was sad for him. I tried talking to my sister about it, but she didn't really understand why someone making such a unromantic, unsacramental, unjoyful choice about marriage would bother me. Maybe it's just I've spent so much time learning the ins and outs of vocation to womenhood that I think his girlfriend deserves to marry someone who not only just likes her enough to satisfy himself, but also loves every bit of her, body and soul, and wants to be there with her to support her, care for her, and help her through the good times and bad. And hearing and seeing the beauty that is a strong, true, deep, loving - haha or perhaps free, total, faitful, fruitful - marriage......I feel so bad for them both that they may never experience that.

At the same time, it serves as a reminder of what can happen if we choose to close ourselves up, shut away the people and memories that cause us pain, rather than facing them head on. Because if there's one thing I've learned, it's that you can't block out the bad without also negating some of the good. Like, imagine all your emotions on a line. At the far left is the most painful thing that's ever happened to you, and on the far right is the most joyful. Obviously, you want to know what it's like to be super happy, so you want to stretch the line in that direction. But...I'm convinced this emotion line only grows two ways: simultaneously bigger or smaller in both directions. To put it in Gratia Plena terms, if you want to feel the ecstasy of Christ's love, you also have to be willing to feel the agony of His death. And my dad, well, he couldn't handle the terrible things that happened to him as a child. He didn't want to feel that pain, he didn't want to go there, so he shut it out. And as he got older, he didn't stop; he shut out more and more of the bad, probably never realizing the good that was disappearing too. And he is...60 years old and unable to experience the excitement of a wedding or sympathsize with the hurt of his daughter.

I'm sorry for this rant. I love my dad when it really comes down to it. But...ah! I guess I just wanted to see if anyone else understands any of this.


  1. I understand! I get why you'd be upset with the situation and with your dad. You love him, and you want him to be happy, and you wish he understood how beautiful marriage can be instead of settling for companionship rather than love. At the same time, he's your father. I think as little girls, we see our fathers as heroes - Daddy can do no wrong, Daddy protects me, Daddy's a good man. As we grow, maybe we lose this view of them, maybe we don't. But even if we don't see them as heroes anymore, we still hope that they are good men. Even if they disappoint us again and again. (I don't know your father, so obviously I can't really understand your perspective on him as far as this goes). But even if your father has disappointed you in the past, you still hope that he won't let you down in the future. And with this, Dad's letting himself, his girlfriend, and you down. All in one fell swoop. And acting like it's not a big deal.
    I think it's amazing that you want so badly for your father to see the beauty of marriage, and for his girlfriend to experience. The fact that you're disappointed in him only shows how much you love him.
    As far as the last part goes - what a powerful way to put it: "If you want to feel the ecstasy of Christ's love, you also have to be willing to feel the agony of His death." So true.
    Just wanted to comment to let you know someone's reading this and understands. Love you.

  2. Hey girl,

    I've had quite a hard relationship with my dad over the past 15 years. He's been in and out of my life; in when I didn't need him and out when I did. If you ever want to talk about anything at all, just let me know!

    I'm here for you and praying for you,